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Morphology and Development of Pistillate Inflorescences in Extant and Fossil Cercidiphyllaceae

Peter R. Crane and Ruth A. Stockey
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 73, No. 2 (1986), pp. 382-393
DOI: 10.2307/2399118
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2399118
Page Count: 12
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Morphology and Development of Pistillate Inflorescences in Extant and Fossil Cercidiphyllaceae
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Abstract

Comparison of the shoots, pistillate inflorescences, and infructescences of Joffrea speirsii Crane & Stockey from the upper Paleocene of Canada, Nyssidium arcticum (Heer) Iljinskaya from the upper Paleocene of southern England, and Trochodendrocarpus arcticus (Heer) Kryshtofovich from the lower Paleocene of Amur, eastern U.S.S.R., reveals considerable diversity in phyllotaxy, shoot growth, inflorescence position, and the number and crowding of follicles in each infructescence. Despite this diversity, the pistillate inflorescences of all these fossil Cercidiphyllum-like plants are directly comparable in basic organization, to inflorescences of extant Cercidiphyllum. These similarities add to the evidence that the fossil and extant taxa are closely related and support the view that the condensed inflorescence of Cercidiphyllum evolved by reduction from an elongated form. In extant Cercidiphyllum each flower consists of a single carpel, but in fossil taxa flowers may contain either one or two carpels. The arrangement of carpels in bicarpellate flowers resembles that in extant Hamamelidaceae.

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